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Ever have one of those weeks where you whole-heartedly pursue your emotional appetites, but end up squandering it all or making a fool of yourself? Don’t you wish you’d gotten some advance warning about that week?

Well, here is your advance warning.

Venus, already strongly placed in Pisces, gets a boost this week from two major aspects. In theory this means that your love life and relationships are likely to take a big step up. However, in practice, this isn’t always the case. It seems like a good idea at first, but often when you let Venus take the wheel of your life you are more likely to take the scenic route to the most convenient destination, rather than drive in a straight line to what you really want. In other words, your affections may benefit from this week, but you’ll get a lot more use out of it with a little discernment on your part.

The most important aspect of the week happens right in the middle, on Wednesday. Venus conjunct Neptune is an absolutely fantastic time for finding new love or making a current relationship deeper and more heartfelt. Emotionally, it’s the sort of time that can bring out the poet in any of us. Just keep in mind that a lot of the world’s best poetry has been written by people who couldn’t achieve their goals and had unrealistic expectations of both themselves and others. Just because you’re more romantically inclined this week doesn’t necessarily make the object of your intentions any more of a reliable mate.

Mercury sextile Saturn is also exact on Wednesday, and that usually helps one’s critical thinking skills. Try to lean on that a little if and when you find Venus making all your decisions for you this week.

Although the aspect isn’t exact until Sunday, Venus square Mars is a powerful influence on the entire week. This aspect can increase the urge to socialize, and that’s generally great for weekend dating. It can also seriously turn up the volume on your sex drive. Once again, that’s great within the context of an existing relationship but might lead you to make some potentially unwise decisions. Be particularly cautious Saturday evening, when the Moon is Void of Course in Gemini, not to expect a lot to come in the long run from any new encounter or relationship.

There you go: I’ve loaded you up with all the precautions and concerns I can pack into this forecast — and yet here I am, just as big a sucker for love as when I started… and I’ll bet you are too. If none of the above cautions apply to you, get out there and get some romance going on!

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Here we are once again, facing the looming threat of Valentine’s Day. I’m not being cynical about Love at all (because Love is awesome), but if you’re anything like me you’ve noticed that over the years Valentine’s Day has slowly gotten more… extortionate?… in much the same way that Christmas has become overly commercialized. Take my advice though, as a man, an astrologer, and someone in love: just be sincere, do your best, and even if you drop the ball you’ll recover.

First of all, keep in mind that the conditions for this year’s Valentine’s Day are actually pretty good. On Tuesday Sun sextile Uranus lends things a generally happy and bouncy feeling. It’s a good time to be creative and innovative and express yourself in new ways.

As for Valentine’s Day itself? The Moon is in Aquarius which is friendly and sociable but isn’t particularly noted for being big on romance. This might become important when you realize that Valentine’s Day brings us a minor but important aspect: Venus semisquare Pluto. That’s the kind of thing that usually only brings minor agitation and irritation into people’s love lives, but given the nature of Valentine’s Day, that could just turn up the volume on people’s sense of disappointment. Worst case scenario? Just do what I do: apologize a lot, and beg if necessary (just kidding honey!).

On Thursday, the day after Valentine’s Day there is a Solar Eclipse at 27 degrees Aquarius. An eclipse is much bigger news than a weekly forecast is built for, but I’ll note that if you have any important placements in the late degrees of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius), now might be a good time to talk to an astrologer.

Your mileage may vary in the long run due to that Eclipse, but at least things should be relatively stable with your love life this week. Venus sextile Saturn also happens on Thursday, and its influence makes the week generally pretty stable when it comes to your romances, relationships, and budgets.

Enjoy that stability while it lasts, because odds are good that your mood and your sex drive or that of someone close to you will be a little goofy and diluted, thanks to Mars square Neptune, which although it is exact on Saturday casts its influence over the entire week. Don’t fall madly in bed with the wrong person, and if you do, don’t rely on your ability to talk your way out of it this weekend: Sun conjunct Mercury is exact on Saturday too, and that aspect tends to drown out the ability to communicate effectively.

Finally on Sunday, the Sun enters Pisces. Be prepared for a month’s worth of compassionate and caring birthday parties, but try not to overdo it on the drinking. Pisces has a bit of a reputation that way. Where do you think the phrase “drinking like a fish” came from, anyway?

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The week comes loaded with plenty of opportunities for romance, but getting something started with someone new might prove to be relatively difficult. On the other hand, if you really wanted to fire things up again with that ex of yours, you will have ample opportunity for that. On the other hand, do you really want to do that?

The first part of the week is dominated by Venus sextile Uranus, which is exact on Tuesday. This provides the chance for new and interesting social contacts, unusual or unexpected romantic encounters, and can give your love life a general energetic boost. Venus tends to like comfortable and predictable situations, and Uranus likes it freaky and unpredictable. When these two planets work together, magic can happen.

Although that aspect sets the general romantic tone for most of the week, there are some events towards the weekend that will also have a hand in shaping your love life. On Friday, Mercury conjunct the South Node puts the emphasis on communications with people with whom you have a “karmic connection.”. Sure, that might sound great if you are shopping for a soulmate/twin flame, but it also makes it much more likely that you will be getting that 3 AM drunk dial from that certain someone you broke up with but who refuses to leave you alone. I know sometimes it’s tempting to reopen a case like that, but think twice before you answer that phone. And think several times before you turn out to be the drunk one doing the dialing in the first place. Do you really need to be learning those lessons again?

On Sunday, Venus enters Pisces. Venus in Aquarius was certainly lively and interesting for many, and made for a good time partying and socializing. However Venus is considered to be in the sign of its exaltation when it is in Pisces, so the more traditional values of affection and romance and sweetness that are associated with Venus are more likely to be emphasized now. If you like your courtships to be a little more on the traditional side, conditions between now and the first week of March will be in your favor.

Sunday also brings Sun square Jupiter to the exact degree. This aspect can make people cheerful and outgoing, perhaps to a fault. Sometimes romance can benefit from a sense of “overdoing it,” and if your love life needs an infusion of that energy, by all means plan to get out there and party down during the weekend. However, if you have any history at all of getting drunk and ending up in bed with the wrong person, you might want to check those impulses before you give into them. Either way, for much of Sunday the Moon will be Void of Course in Sagittarius. Stop and consider that Sagittarius is better known for recklessness and blind optimism than it is for careful calculation, so remember that before you accept a charming stranger’s invitation to come over and examine their Mayan Pottery collection. We all know where that sort of thing can end up.

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The week begins with an aspect that may be good for romance or that could bring up some painful memories, or maybe both. Venus in Aquarius conjunct the South Node is an excellent time to get in contact with old flames or to make contact with new acquaintances you nonetheless have deep karmic connections with. It’s also an excellent time to drunk dial the ex at 2 AM, and one or the other of you should probably know better. Now might be a good time to let go of your romantic past gracefully and gently, or to make amends with a current loved one where things need to be smoothed over.

Wednesday features a Full Moon/Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo. An eclipse is a much bigger and more important event then simply what happens on that day, but for purposes of a weekly horoscope, I’ll say this: Full Moons are dramatic. Full Moons in Leo are more dramatic. A Lunar Eclipse in Leo? That’s a good time for generally laying low and avoiding drama.

On Wednesday, Mercury enters Aquarius and zips through that sign fairly quickly, leaving it on the 18th. That’s a relatively small window of opportunity for you to take advantage of when it comes to all the bright new ideas and idealistic initiatives that can be launched during this placement. Don’t let it go to waste.

Speaking of Mercury, on Saturday Mercury sextile Mars in Sagittarius is exact, but this aspect influences the entire second half of the week. This is a particularly good time for re-establishing communications with someone you care about where things may have broken down, or where some sort of breakthrough with your ideas is required.

Focusing on rational communications is probably a good idea because on Sunday Venus in Aquarius is square Jupiter. Like the previously mentioned Mercury aspect, this aspect has an influence throughout the second half of this week and the first half of next week. Both Venus and Jupiter are generally considered to be happy and beneficial planets, so what’s the harm in having them connected by an aspect, even if it’s the square? Well, if being excessive and breaking your diet and spending too much money and possibly falling into bed with the wrong person at the wrong time sounds like fun, then get ready for a lively weekend. Otherwise, you might want to take advantage of this energy by partying in a safe environment with your friends, or at least hanging out with your one true love and getting a little crazy with that person. A first date scheduled for this weekend might be a hell of a lot of fun, but it may not be the kind of fun that goes anywhere in the long run.

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Just because most of this week’s major astrological aspects are happening in the second half of the week, don’t get the impression that nothing much is going on before then. Although not exact, Sun conjunct Venus in the early part of the week is still in effect, and that will tend to put an emphasis on relationships. Likewise, Mars quincunx Uranus is still happening, and that can bring dramatic developments and unexpected flare-ups when it comes to both tempers and sex drives. Either way, the potential for change in the state of your love life is in the air.

The biggest player in the Zodiac this week is the smallest of the planets: Mercury. Thinking and communicating are both obviously very important relationship skills, and yet they are easily overlooked when we go searching for drama and excitement in our love lives. Love may be blind, but no one says it has to be stupid. Use your Mercury properly this week to get optimum results with your loved ones.

On Wednesday, Mercury is conjunct Pluto. This is a particularly powerful placement, but it needs to be used wisely. Although it may give you bold new insights, it also comes with the potential to do some harm with your words if you aren’t careful… or you may find yourself on the pointy end of this conjunction.

Mercury sextile Jupiter, exact on Thursday, can either be a chance to lend good cheer to your words or just turn up the volume on them. Although Jupiter usually brings more good news than bad, keep in mind that it is also the Amplifier of the Zodiac. Let reason be your guide.

“Reason” might be in short supply this week, as Sunday brings us Mercury square Uranus. Mercury and Uranus have a lot in common: they are both associated with brilliant thoughts and ideas. Again, just stop and double-check to make sure that your words and ideas are really as brilliant as you think they are, especially given that Mercury is conjunct Pluto this week.

Finally, Sunday brings a couple of relatively obscure aspects to Venus that are coming together in a rare configuration to potentially give your love life a huge boost. The quintile is a minor aspect that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention. It has an association with talent and creativity, and this Sunday Venus is in a rare quintile to both Mars and Uranus. When one combines the love and affection of Venus with the passion and drive of Mars and the unique creativity of Uranus, what you have at the end of this week is a near-perfect recipe for expressing your love in a new way. So go ahead and write that love letter, or try that tricky-looking new sex position, or swing for the fences with a potential object of your affection.

Now, if none of that is exciting enough for you? Fine. Rest up while you can. There will be a lunar eclipse next week, and that will give you plenty to get excited over.

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The week begins with an opportunity to make some big breakthroughs in your personal life, and ends with a chance to shake things up a little. Take advantage of both, and all you’ll have to worry about is stepping on people’s toes with your newfound power.

Monday brings us Jupiter sextile Pluto, and that aspect fills the entire week with very big and very real opportunities to make for changes in your life, especially when it comes to those with whom you are in committed and/or sexual relationships. Normally, almost any Jupiter-Pluto aspect might end up being too much of a good thing, like putting a jet engine on a lawnmower. The sextile, however, gives us a chance to use that potent combination with a degree of subtlety and power that doesn’t usually come from this combination. Choose your course of action wisely and take advantage of it.

On Tuesday, the Universe gives you a chance to consciously reboot something in your life that may need it. A New Moon is always a chance to stop and consciously re-evaluate your plans, but a New Moon in Capricorn like this one, with a load of planets (like Saturn and Pluto) in the same sign? Now you’re playing with real power! Tuesday represents a unique opportunity to take something that has eluded you and begin the difficult work of making it real, right here and now on the material plane. That doesn’t sound to me like an opportunity you should miss out on… does it to you?

On Wednesday, Venus enters Aquarius. Venus in Aquarius has a strange reputation… as any placement in Aquarius usually does. It’s not usually considered to be the most romantic places for Venus to be. It’s the sort of thing that is usually associated more with humanitarian efforts or universal love rather than the kind of one-on-one love that most people associate with the word “romance.” Take my word for it though: when Venus in Aquarius comes down off of its rarefied mountaintop and dares to fall in love with a mere human being, it falls and it falls hard. Now is the time to play on your uniqueness as an individual in order to attract love, rather than simply trying to fit in with the latest fashion trend. Embrace who you are as an individual first, and someone will see that uniqueness and honor it for all it’s worth.

Arguably the biggest aspect of the week is one that arrives on Wednesday: Mars quincunx Uranus. Both planets are in signs that are traditionally ruled by Mars, so in a sense, Mars is the winner of the battle when it comes to the uniquely strange quincunx. Your energy and your sex drive might be amplified, but scattered all over the place. Try to make some sense of it and invest it wisely, and the results could be magnificent. Give in to your lower impulses, and you might just end up making a big, sexy mess of it all.

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Everyone roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some hard work, because this week’s major aspects provide ample opportunity for you to get what you want out of your life, romantically or otherwise. There are opportunities coming that you really don’t want to miss out on.

Monday brings us three major aspects that can all be of incredible utility. Saturn and Pluto, in very different degrees of Capricorn, are the powerhouses that will be driving much of the astrology in the next two or three years. But instead of just sitting back and worrying about how they might manifest negatively in your life, this is the week to take charge. Both planets will be making a number of important aspects for getting your love life or your life in general onto the track you want it to be on. Do not miss this! But first, a word from Jupiter…

First off on Monday, Sun sextile Jupiter will tend to give your ego a healthy little boost over the next few days, in case you had a hard time standing up for yourself because somehow you felt you haven’t deserved better. Then, Venus sextile Jupiter (which will be in effect the entire week) sets the stage for sweetness, kindness, reconciliation, and love in its various forms.

But wait, there’s more! Tuesday brings a conjunction between the Sun, Venus, and Pluto in Capricorn… and it’s all sextile Mars in Scorpio. The gentle vibe of Venus sextile Jupiter is punched up by a powerful burst of the regenerative force that only Pluto can give. If there was ever a day you decided to plant your flag on a romantic target and stake your claim, this is it. Just be careful you’ve chosen wisely: actions initiated under this aspect can have a long-lasting effect, and when it’s combined with that aspect from Mars, there’s a chance you may just be rising to a challenge, rather than simply pursuing a worthy (and realistic) goal. Be particularly cautious of this, since Venus square Uranus (exact on Saturday) can lead to some unusual (and not terribly wise) attractions.

All of this demanding energy may require some serious thought before you put your big romance plan into action. For that, Saturday provides Mercury conjunct Saturn (which should inject a little common sense into all this buzz). You may also find yourself called to do some emotional healing work on yourself or someone else, as Saturday also provides us with Venus sextile Chiron.

Finally, if you still somehow managed to ignore all my urging and you’ve done nothing with this week, don’t give in to the urge to kick yourself over it… although Sunday’s Sun square Uranus might make you feel a little like doing just that.

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Happy New Year, everyone! This may mark the beginning of a new calendar year, but as you know, in astrology the cosmic deck is always being reshuffled. The first week of this year offers up some pretty decent transits for making sense of your life and the lives of your loved ones, and some help with making your love life better (or getting one in the first place if you’re lacking one).

The biggest and most important of the aspects happening this week isn’t exact until Saturday, but it projects an influence over all of this week (and all of next week as well). Mars conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio is potentially a juggernaut of energy to help you achieve your goals. It’s also likely to make for general restlessness and possibly an uncomfortable increase in your sex drive. Choose your targets wisely and apply caution, because it is possible to overdo things under this influence.

The latter part of the week is a good time to find a new and different way to express your thoughts. Mercury trine Uranus will help you find ways to communicate more effectively and will help you come up with new ways to address your daily life. One caution though: Mercury loves saying things but isn’t always terribly aware of the consequences. Mercury trine Uranus may help you find fresh vocabulary, but this week Mercury is square Chiron. Chiron aspects, even the relatively good ones, can trip off all sorts of psychological issues and old traumas — sometimes ones you didn’t even realize were there. This means that your pithy observations may unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings. Step carefully when discussing matters of love and intimacy.

This caution particularly applies to the weekend dating outlook, especially on Friday and Saturday when the Moon is in Virgo. Virgo loves nothing better than to be helpful and to heal someone, but especially when there is a Mercury Chiron aspect happening Virgo doesn’t always realize that a scalpel is also a knife.

Avoid those pitfalls, however, and the weekend holds a lot of romantic potential. Mars conjunct Jupiter (in Scorpio, no less!) acts as a serious amplifier to the sex drive. The urge to merge is increased even more by the approaching Venus sextile Mars and Jupiter (exact next week). Venus in Capricorn is past the chilling effects of Saturn in Capricorn now, and is ready to shine her practically-grounded delights.

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The last week of the year is traditionally a time when many news organizations and TV shows assemble a “Year In Review” show: a slapped-together rehash of the year’s top stories. This, however, is a horoscope — the future is our business. This week’s forecast will actually provide you with advice that you can carry with you all next year!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’ve got to admit that there is something special about the last week of this year. It starts with a major holiday and ends on New Year’s Eve, but that’s not the real significance of this week. No, this week is special because the Sun, Venus, and Saturn are all in the early degrees of Capricorn. Saturn has already been in Capricorn for a few days, and it is far and away the biggest news story currently happening in astrology. Even though a major shift like that is beyond the scope of a weekly horoscope, again I feel the need to repeat this loudly and clearly: something in your life is going to be very challenged in the next two and a half years. The good news is that you are up to it if you are willing to do the work on yourself and your life.

Venus conjunct Saturn is exact on Monday but influences the entire week. For some of you, this may mean a bit of a chill blows into your love life. However, if you respond to the challenge in Capricorn style — be strong, roll up your sleeves, and do the work — you might make real progress with your personal life that you haven’t made before.

Whatever comes your way, an energetic boost will help you do the things that you need to do. Fortunately, we will get that this week, with Mars trine Neptune, which is exact on Thursday. This aspect brings particular charm and charisma with it, and that energy can be applied to any of your goals, romantic or otherwise.

Now, here is your big reveal for 2018: while you’re out celebrating the New Year (for which the Moon will be in sociable Gemini, but will be Void of Course at midnight for most of you) and you’re possibly dreading the effects of Saturn in Capricorn, there’s only one thing you need to know:

You’ve got this. You’re going to be good, and then you’re going to be better than good. So stop worrying and have a good time this week, okay?

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The week begins with a quiet break that you can use to your advantage. There is a New Moon in Sagittarius at 26 degrees, conjunct the Galactic Center. I tell people to do personal affirmations about what they want from the month ahead on a New Moon, but I’m not sure many people follow that advice. You should do that this Monday. There are very large changes coming soon. Even if you weren’t into astrology, you’d probably feel a big shift in things coming, and since this New Moon involves the Galactic Center (which represents the connection between “all of us” and “the things larger than us”), this is a rare opportunity for you to connect your will with that of the Universe at large. Mentally preparing yourself for the coming changes now will make a big difference.

And here is that big ol’ Bucket of Shift I’m referring to… on Tuesday, Saturn enters Capricorn. That’s far too large and important a subject to cover within the bounds of a weekly horoscope, but you know it’s going to be big, and undoubtedly you’ll be hearing plenty about it elsewhere. But like I said: bracing yourself on Monday is a good idea.

There may be some comfort to be found in the arms of others this week, particularly with Venus trine Uranus, which is exact on Wednesday. This aspect will influence the entire week and lend a little excitement and urgency to all your social interactions, but particularly matters of romance.

On Thursday, the Sun enters Capricorn. Prepare to stock up on a month’s worth of sensible, pinstriped gifts for your Goat friends (sorry for the cliches, Capricorn… but we all know you can take it).

The weekend dating scene holds some significant promise. Thursday to Saturday, Venus is in the late degrees of Sagittarius, and will be passing over the Galactic Center. Did you sit down and do your affirmations on Monday like I told you to, and did any of those involve finding some love? If not, then don’t come crying to me when your one true love doesn’t show up for happy hour this weekend. Otherwise just get out and have a good time with your friends.

Finally, if what you’ve been secretly craving in your love life is a little stability and commonsense, you could do worse than restarting your search for Love on Sunday night. That’s when Venus enters Capricorn. Overall I find this to be an underrated placement. Then again, if “thoughtful and stable” sound like bad qualities to have in your love life, just stay at home until January. Venus in Aquarius will hopefully make things sufficiently freaky for you.

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